Jul 20

Life on the Reef

by in Australia

Day two on the Sydney Sundancer:  more sailing, more snorkeling, more hiking, more gourmet meals, and more quality time with new friends and family.  Pretty tough to get used to, but we’re doing our best.  

It’s simply perfect.  Our day began early, with breakfast in the cockpit as John set sail for Hayman Island.  Our first task of the day:  hiking to the top of the island for breathtaking views of the Whitsundays and the reef in all directions.  We looked down across the Hayman Island resort, considered one of the area’s top resorts, and felt a slight twang of pity for them; their experience couldn’t begin to compare to ours, we thought.  The kids chatted excitedly with Lynne as she explained the flora and fauna of the island, spotted a green tree snake darting into a hole, and shared her history of shell collecting throughout the islands, and the world.  We gazed across the reef to a shelf between two islands, our next destination for reef walking and shell discoveries.  

Back onboard the Sundancer and with a bit of time before lunch, John escorted us on a “magic carpet ride” of sorts, a snorkel tow around a most brilliant coral bay.  We were joined by turtles, fish of all varieties, and a shimmering palette of coral colors, shapes and sizes.  Both kids have become quite skilled in the water, with Dundee diving down to explore the cracks and crevices, and Sacagawea’s eagle eye spotting the most obscure creatures.

Back onboard, Lynne was waiting with an incredible mac nut curry chicken salad.  We dined alfresco, while chatting excitedly about our morning’s adventures and discoveries.  Typically not game for such interesting flavors, even the kids devoured it. . . . new foods and new adventures. (NOTE:   More to follow on this amazing chef we’re blessed to enjoy.  From her galley, about the size of my master shower at home, she produces meals that rival the top restaurants of the world.  And she does it while chatting away with us, and between her guided hikes, shell collecting and reef walking.  She’s a gift, and we’re just lucky to have come aboard.)

Our reef walking, shell discoveries, and animal spotting adventure across Langford Reef was magnificent!  The reef itself was fascinating . . . exposed for several hours/day, it looked from a distance like something otherworldly, almost like a lunar surface.  But once up close, it came alive, with urchins, cucumbers, sand dollars, seashells, and even an octopus darting between coral croppings.  With her own small collection at home Sacagawea was hooked, and danced from spot to spot as Lynne found new treasures for her to explore. 

As the sun settled towards the horizon, we nestled into our protective bay for the evening, and Sacagawea and Dundee took their spot on the back platform for a bit more fishing.  Still working on their angler skills, today’s adventure led to Dundee carefully saving Sacagawea’s finger from the sharp prongs of a hook, then diving in to rescue the reel that jumped out to sea during the commotion.  Quite an adventure!

Once again, another spectacular sunset, and with wine in hand, we celebrated another glorious day.  As John fired up the barbie to grill our evening’s prawns, we moved in to join him.  Word has it that Boycie’s barbie skills are legendary, and we didn’t want to miss out.  As you might imagine, we weren’t disappointed.

Reef Explorers Extraordinaire!

Reef Explorers Extraordinaire!

 

Views-- and moments -- not to be missed.

Views-- and moments -- not to be missed.

 

It's rare air at the top of Hayman Island

It's rare air at the top of Hayman Island

 

Saved from the fishhook, Sacagawea soaks up the sunset

Saved from the fishhook, Sacagawea soaks up the sunset

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